I just picked up a pair of 177 CM Volkl Mantras from 2011-2012. They were used for super cheap. I snatched them off ebay within 5 minutes of them posting.
I'm fit, 34, 5 ft 9, and 165 lbs. I'll ski anything in-bounds generally sticking to expert terrain and I really love the trees. These skis will be meant to my ski for when there is new snow in the Mid-Atlantic (Canaan Valley area of WV, Blue Knob, PA, Holiday Valley NY) and my daily driver out west when it is not a powder day over 5-6 inches. I typically make 2 trips out west of 5-6 days each and ski about 25-30 days. I also have a once-a-week pass to Perfect North over in Indiana.
In case I get asked my quiver right now consists of:
2010 Head Jo Pro, 176 cm, 121/84/110: For hard Midwest/Mid-Atlantic groomers, bumps, rare park forays. I love this ski!
2009 Line Blend, 178 cm, 132/100/122 (before early rise was added to this model): These were my daily driver and filled the same role that the Mantras will. I really love this ski, but it is pretty beat and time to retire it to rock ski status (AKA give to my brother). The Mantras being soooo cheap made doing this decision much easier!
2012 Surface Live Live, 181 cm: 146/110/130: Pow skis and touring. Awesome ski!
I understand that the Mantra's starting in 2011-2012 added some early rise and now have somewhat softer tails.
How has the early-rise and softer tails impacted how the Mantras ski in the bumps and the trees?
I'm a little concerned they will be stiffer than I prefer, especially coming from Line Blends the past few years. I don't want a ski that is awful in the tress and bumps. However, the Jo Pros are a pretty stiff park oriented ski and the Surface Live Lifes are considered an 8/10 in stiffness compared to other Surface skis.
The Line Blends did not have steel in them but could hold an edge very well. I don't ever recall feeling that I pushed them way past past their speed limits. They were definitely not noodles. I found them to be a really versatile and fun ski.
If I end up not liking the skis I can sell easily them for what I paid for them even after factoring ebay, paypal, and shipping fees.
$265 shipped for 2012 Mantras with Marker Griffons was just too good to pass up!
Excited for the season!